I am writing to bring attention to the discrepancies in the quality of the athletic facilities in TUSD high schools. My main focus will be on the baseball fields although I do understand there are other discrepancies in our three high schools’ facilities.
This issue has always been a major topic of debate in the Tracy sports community. In the fall of 2009, Tracy opened a brand new school (Kimball) that came complete with a very nice football stadium, a pool and a basketball gym — all comparable to those of Tracy and West highs. However, the cow pasture on which they put up a fence, laid down hydro-seed and called a “baseball field” was a failure. The first time I saw the “baseball fields” at Kimball was its first year of existence and I was absolutely shocked by what I saw. There were no real dugouts, no bullpens, no batting cages, no scoreboard and no real grass to speak of. Not to mention the entire field was unsafe due to the holes and unevenness of the playing surface.
This brings me to the most important point of this letter. Safety. The “baseball fields” at Kimball are not even close to being safe for the student athletes who are required to practice and play on them daily. The part of all of this that amazes me is at one point somebody approved the plans for this awful excuse for a baseball field. If anyone can explain to me how that happened, I would love to hear it.
Then I go away to college, and when I come back, I find out that Tracy’s baseball field has been torn down and rebuilt on the Monte Vista Middle School campus. Now, this field is beautiful: nice dugouts, quality bullpens, two full-length batting cages, custom scoreboard, batter’s eye and GRASS.
It is not fair to the student-athletes who are forced to attend Kimball and have to compete on those facilities. These kids are not in the state of being equal, especially in status, rights and opportunities (see definition of equality), and something needs to be done to fix that.
Riley Goulding, Tracy
Kimball athletics left behind
As a junior at Kimball High School who has been involved in varsity sports for all three years, I have experienced firsthand the athletics at this school going without even the bare necessities. I commend the softball division of the Kimball Athletics to speak up about this. After making playoffs every year, Kimball was denied water for their fields. Luckily, they stood up for their rights. You would be surprised how many other issues have gone unnoticed around the rest of the sport facilities. I am a year-round water polo player, with the exception of high school swim season in the spring. This past water polo season has been unbearable with the pool issues. I cannot count on two hands how many times the heater or pump has broken down and caused us to have to relocate or even cancel practice. If you are unaware, the girls team made it all the way to semifinals and finished second in league. Despite our success, TUSD still won’t grant us a proper heater. It is known that a used heater — the same heater that previously broke down — was bought to replace the previous one. After talking with a couple of other athletes around campus, I found out that the basketball court is barely taken care of, too. Not to mention, the turf of the football-soccer fields. I’m disgusted that Kimball is treated this way, especially with our athletic programs going above and beyond the other high schools in town. Is it because we are a newer school? The reason sure can’t be that we haven’t proven ourselves.
Katelyn Traut, Tracy
Southside treatment a joke
I read with interest and absolute frustration your article titled “Tracy’s forgotten neighborhood.” We have lived on the Southside for 38 years and bought here to live in the country and the atmosphere that went with it. Twenty-three years ago, several developers decided to buy all the nice farmland they could and build subdivisions. We are in the middle of two such properties. To make a long story short, the city decided we could either “dedicate” one-third of our property for the “betterment of the city” or else they would take it with us having to pay for all the improvements — amounting to $132,000. At a meeting at the Annex of City Hall during a conversation with one of Tracy’s finest is verbatim: “If you don’t sign over the property, then any time you ever come in for a building permit, you will have to donate your property at that time.” I replied: “That’s blackmail.” He responded: “We don’t call it that.” I replied, “Then it’s extortion — however you want to call it.” And so with that our property was “dedicated” to the city.
We live across the street from an open field, and that property is not developed. An apartment complex went in next to the field, which has all the improvements that stops at the edge of their development. Because the main electrical and phone lines run on the other side of the street, we are the only ones hooked up to a telephone pole on that side of the street. Twenty-three years ago, we were told it would cost us upward of $35,000 to $40,000 to connect said wiring when the field is developed. Who knows what the costs would be today, and that doesn’t include sidewalks or sewer lines. The city will not allow “hopscotching” of sidewalks, sewer lines, etc., so you have to wait until everyone is doing it.
I know for a fact the couple that owns property on South C Street has tried for years to build there (a nice retirement home complex) and the city has not even attempted to work with them on that or any other plan. I can also tell you that the people that live on these properties without these services are mostly retired families who cannot afford costs of upward of $100,000 to improve their properties and have no desire to sell their homes of 50-plus years to pay off the debt that comes with the improvements or go bankrupt.
Mr. Morelos as past councilman has to know policies and procedures regarding these issues, and Ms. DiPasquale being in real estate should know the same. Are you next going to suggest everyone on Southside gets to pay an extra tax so these properties can be developed?
Be careful what you wish for and bring upon your neighbors.
Jan James, Tracy
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